With Ohio preparing to grant more medical marijuana dispensary licenses and no system currently in place to benefit minority applicants, activists and minority owners are concerned that an already wealthy and white industry may become even more wealthy and even more white.
Earlier this week, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy voted to increase the number of dispensary licenses to 130 from the current 57.
At its inception, the program included a carve-out for cannabis entrepreneurs from economically disadvantaged groups, including people of color. Fifteen percent of marijuana business licenses were set aside for companies with at least 51% minority ownership.
However, judges eventually struck down the set asides, and the program currently has no provisions aimed at diversifying the industry, although regulators are working on updates intended to do just that.